Do you wonder what the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons are thinking today? Maybe something like, “BE STRONG - NEVER GIVE UP!” Are you kidding me? Those were two dramatic football games!
But isn’t life dramatic, too? A marriage seemingly over. A phone call from your doctor. A cut in pay or loss of a job. Parents divorce. A friend’s betrayal. A personal failure. Your faith ridiculed. Doubting your own faith.
But maybe it is our faith that needs to be stretched. Can we believe that the game is not over? Jesus told the apostles in Mark 13 that they should be strong and never give up even in the most severe of conditions. (vs. 9-13) He even uses the word “endure.” They could do so because they knew how solid their position was in Christ and that in the “end” all that would really matter would be their faithfulness to Him.
There are so many voices telling us, “give up,” “it’s over,” “why even try?” Of course there are wise boundaries, and they can be part of being strong. But giving up? Chuck Swindoll once said, “There are two things you don’t want to do prematurely. One is embalming. The other is divorce.” The principle applies to all of life.
I’m not sure who this Monday Memo is for today, but I pray that if it is you, you will take it to heart. Imagine if Atlanta or Baltimore had given up. Hanging in there, even for 30 more seconds, can make all the difference! Just ask Denver and Seattle.
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday as we continue to study the Advanced Notice Jesus gave His disciples in Mark 13.
Grace and peace,
"Advanced Notice (Part 1)" Mark 13:1-13
It is Jesus’ longest answer to any question that He was asked. That tells us it is important, but is also a bit complex and open to misunderstanding and abuse. Regardless, when someone says, “I have told you everything in advance” (13:23), it seems like listening and learning is a good idea!
THINKING IT THROUGH
We should all be concerned about the future, because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.
The future is not something we enter, it is something we create.
All of our fervent calculations of times and seasons are little more than childish games played in a pile of sawdust.
I am not looking for death, I am looking for Him.
~G. Campbell Morgan
WORKING IT OUT
1. What is your overall reaction to prophecy and the notion that Christ will return for a second time?
2. Where can you see yourself in what has been revealed in vs. 1-13?
3. To what degree are you interested in the remaining two parts of this chapter and why?
"Advanced Notice (Part 2)" Mark 13:14-23
Now everything gets going! Something changes everything in v.14. It may sound pretty strange. It is. Only would a Jew have a clue. Yet whatever it is, what follows is pretty dramatic. You may have a difficult time putting the pieces together on this one. That’s OK! Dive in, do your best, get familiar with some of the details, and stay at it. It is worth it!
LOOKING IT UP
1. In what ways do the “tone” and “specificity” of the flow change beginning in v.14?
2. Notice the chronological link with v.24 – especially the word “after.”
3. What term is used by Jesus to describe the period covered by vs. 14-23? (see v.19 and v.24)
4. What can you learn about this period of time from this context and these other passages? (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27, 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 3:10, 6:15-17)
5. Try to focus in on the “abomination of desolation” in v.14. By use of some of the Scripture above and your own research, what is your best understanding of what this “seeable” event involves?
6. Verse 23 wraps up this section with the admonition, “But take heed.” Take heed to what, how?
Posted on Mon, January 14, 2013
by Tom Oyler